Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rite-Aid How To Tutorial

Reader Jennifer asked last week in a comment about how to get started at Rite-Aid.
So this post is for her and any other reader out there who wants to jump onto the Rite-Aid bandwagon.

First off, you need to go to the store and get this......

A Wellness Card
It's the Rite-Aid store loyalty card program.

Every time you buy something at Rite-Aid give them your card and you receive 1 point credit for every dollar you spend.
If you also have prescriptions filled at Rite-Aid, hand over the card when you pay for those and you'll get points for each rx paid for.(Usually you get 25 points per rx, but this can vary. If you fill pet prescriptions at Rite-Aid you can also get points on your card for those.)

This 1 point=$1 spent is calculated BEFORE you use any coupons or +Up Rewards you use to bring your out of pocket cost down.
Once your Wellness card account gets to 500 points you are at the Silver Level and will get to choose a Wellness Reward and you will then receive a 10% discount every time you shop at Rite-Aid on non-prescription items(Some exclusions apply).
After you get to 1000 points you will get 20% off on products in the store.  That's the highest discount level, or Gold Level.

These discounts apply to REGULAR PRICED MERCHANDISE in the store.  If the weekly sale price is lower you will receive the sale price on an item.  If your Wellness level discount % price is lower than the sale price you will receive that % discount price instead of the sale price.
Usually the sale price is lower than your % discount but sometimes if you have the Gold 20% discount level that may kick in as it's lower.

Now go to the Rite-Aid website(riteaid dotcom)and sign up for an online Wellness account.  That is where you can check your Wellness point total, load electronic coupons onto your card(called Load 2 Card) and access the AdPerk/Video Values Coupons.

Once you set up your online Wellness account you can sign in and go to the start page.
Scroll down and you should see something like this.....

I have circled where you can go to the Load2Card section and where you can link to the Video Values section.

Load 2 Card(aka L2C)is where you can clip coupons to your Wellness card.
L2C doesn't always work properly.
Sometimes coupons you clip and try to use don't come off your bill.
Sometimes if you have a L2C but you want to use a paper coupons instead because it's a higher value, once you scan your Wellness card, the L2C coupon comes off and then when the cashier tries to scan your paper coupon the register will beep and not accept the paper coupon.  The cashier can "push" the coupon through(by putting it as a generic manufacturer's coupon.  Other times the L2C will automatically fall off your transaction once the cashier puts the paper coupon through.
You just never know which it will be.
Many cashiers either don't know or don't care about the L2Cs if they pop onto your receipt and cause havoc in this way, so if the L2C won't drop off your transaction when the cashier scans the paper coupon just show them you bought the correct product and they will usually push the coupon through.
(Coupons beeping at the register is very common in the couponing world.)
There may be a way for the cashier to manually remove a L2C but I have never seen a cashier do that.

Video Values are short commercials you watch(you don't have to actually watch them, just play then and keep the screen active but go do something else online in a different screen until they are finished), and then can print a Rite-Aid coupon for a product.  Go to the Rite-Aid website to access the site with these videos on them.  You can print and use each VV coupon one time.  Of course if you have multiple Wellness accounts, each account can use 1 of these VV coupons.

You can stack a Video Values coupon with a Manufacturer's coupon(either one from the Sunday inserts, or other printed one like a peelie or from a tearpad)or a Manufacturer's coupon you print online.  In regard to stacking coupons, some stores will also let you use a manufacturer's coupon found stuck onto the product you are buying(called a peelie)-they can "push" these type through at the register, just make sure they scan them AFTER the paper manufacturer's coupon you want to use and/or they will also allow you to stack a third coupon on a product, just as a Rite-Aid Facebook coupon or an In-Ad coupon from the weekly sales flyer.

In-Ad coupons--These are found in the weekly Rite-aid sales flyers.  If you don't get one in your local Sunday paper, just pick one up when you go into the store.  You can access the weekly sales ads weeks ahead of time to plan your transactions at websites such as "I 'Heart' Rite-Aid"(iheartriteaid dotcom) and Slick Deals (slickdeals dotnet).
Most In-Ad coupons will say "Limit one per customer."  Some stores don't enforce this rule, some do.
Some deals you want to do may require purchasing more than one of the item in a transaction to get an +Up Rewards so you may have to use more than 1 of these In-Ad coupons(only 1 per item though).  You can try to use more than one but don't get greedy and try to use many multiples.  My store is a bit lax on this Limit of 1 rule, but I don't push it and only will use 2 of these coupons in an order(buying 2 items, 1 of these coupons per item).
Not 3 or 5 or 10.  Just 2.  And I have never had a problem.
You need to get to "know" your store and see if they have a problem with this.
As with many other things in couponing, "Your mileage may vary" aka YMMV.

Rite-Aid also puts out coupons through it's Facebook account.
Go HERE and "like" them.
tTen you can check that page often to find coupons you may want to use, or just go check I Heart Rite-Aids webpage because she posts when their Facebook coupons are released.
The RA Facebook coupons are usually limited to 10K prints and are usually only up there for a week so don't delay in printing ones you may want to use.  The period in which they are valid for can be just until the end of that week's sales ad or can run 2-3 weeks or the entire month.  It varies.

Once you have a Wellness Account and R-A has your mailing address they may send you coupons and/or offers by snail mail.  I rarely get this sort of mail from R-A, but it does happen.

Some Rite-Aid stores have Catalina machines connected to their registers.  These are small grey boxes that sit next to the register at your checkout counter.  When you buy certain items this machine may print out a coupon for you.  These are called Catalina coupons or CATS for short.  The machine will be prompted to print you a CAT because you bought a product made by one company and they want you to try a similar product form another company, or it may print out a CAT because you bought a product from a certain company and they want you to buy more(ie-you purchase 3 cans of cat food so they give you a $off CAT when buying 5 cans of the same product).

+Up Rewards are the scrip you get back when you do a "deal".  Some items in the sales ad will give you back this "Rite-Aid $" if you buy certain items in certain quantities.  Sometimes you have to buy them all in a single transaction, sometimes you can buy them over the course of the week(or month if it's a monthly deal).  "Usually" if you need to purchase items costing over $10 to get a Deal, the purchases will "track"(be recorded to your card) so you can buy them in more than one transaction.  Generally Deals where you need to buy under $10 worth of items don't track, so make sure you purchase them all together in one transaction.  It doesn't always apply but it's a good rule of thumb to follow this advice.

The point of the game is to buy items you need, when they are on sale, using coupons to bring that price down more, spend previous +Up Rewards to pay so you spend very little real cash and get back more new +Up Rewards to pay for items you will buy next time.
If everyone is working well and you plan carefully you can spend only pennies on the dollar.

In order to get the best mileage out of your coupons and get the best deals you need to access coupons and Rite-Aid sales ads well in advance of when the sales begin on Sunday.
You must plan out your transaction ahead of time.
Slick Deals and I Heart Rite-Aid both post scans of upcoming sales ads weeks ahead.  Readers on both those sights will also post ideas for what to buy and what it will cost out of pocket after sales/coupons/rebates/+Up Rewards.

One more thing you need to do--the first time you go to Rite-Aid, after you sign up for the Wellness account/card, tell the cashier before you do your first transaction that you want to OPT OUT of having your +Up Rewards electronically attached to your Wellness card.
Very important step to do!
If you don't OPT OUT, when you receive a +Up Reward for purchasing an item(s), that +Up Reward will be electronic and attach to your card.
If you OPT OUT, when you receive a +Up Reward for purchasing an item(s) it will print out on your receipt.

The next time you go to do a transaction at Rite-Aid you can choose which paper +Up Reward to use or not.  This is helpful if you have access to more than 1 Wellness card, because you can use +Up Rewards you earned on one card to pay for purchases made on a different Wellness card in subsequent trips.

If you do not wish to use a +Up Rewards and it's attached electronically to your card, you must first go into your Wellness account online and "unclip" it under your Rewards Earned tab.

I OPT OUT for 3 reasons....
1. I can use +Up Rewards between multiple cards.
2. It's a PITA to have to unclip +Up Rewards if I don't want them used on a certain transaction.
3. Like the Load2Card coupons, I don't trust this electronic system either.

Now, after you've done your transaction and you qualified for a Deal, you will receipt one of these....

A +Up Reward.
There is a 2 week(14 day)time frame in which you Must use this before it expires.  It will be 14 days from the day it prints out on your receipt.  You can use it to pay for most items at Rite-Aid(except for lottery tickets, gift cards, money orders, milk, etc. which is printed on the bottom in the fine print).

The point in doing the Rite-aid Game is to use sale prices, coupons and +Up Rewards to pay for your items bought and pay no cash out of your pocket.
When you spend +Up Rewards and get back an equal amount in +Up Rewards to what you spent it is called "Rolling your +Ups".  Rolling +Ups is optimum but not always possible.  Sometimes you have no choice but to "Spend Down your +Ups".

To get started you will need to actually spend some money because, while you have coupons to use, you won't have any +Ups at first.
That will quickly change after you do a couple of transactions on items that give back +Ups.

Another thought about prescriptions and earning rewards--Now and again Rite-Aid will put an offer for a $25 +Up Reward into their weekly sales flyers if you transfer a prescription from another company's pharmacy to Rite-Aid.  You only have to have it filled one time by Rite-Aid and then you can transfer it back somewhere else, so basically no strings attached to $25 in free Rite-Aid scrip, except to get it filled there once.  Be sure to read the offer(in the form of a coupon in the ad)as there will be a limit of how many transfers you can earn the scrip on, plus the transfer coupon will also have an expiration date.
Using 2 different Wellness cards I transferred 3 Rxs the end of August for $75 in free Rite-Aid scrip, which I have been using over the last 2 months to get lots of items for nearly free. 8-)

Here is a list of abbreviations of common Rite-Aid Terms--

L2C=Load 2 Card coupons
+Up=+Up Rewards
ManuQ or ManQ or MQ=Manufacturer's coupons
IPQ=Internet printed coupons
YMMV=Your Mileage May Vary
Roll=to use +Ups and get back an equal amount spent
VV or VideoValues or AdPerk=one type of Rite only coupons
Peelies=small MQs found on products...you peel them off and use them
Tearpad=MQs found on tearpads
Blinkies=MQs found in those blinking light boxes hanging on store shelves that usually
CAT=Catalina machine generated coupon
WYB=When You Buy
BOGO or B1G1=Buy 1 Get 1 Free
BOGO%=Buy 1 Get a % off a 2nd One
CRT=Cash Register Tape or your Receipt
HTG=hangtag Q or MQ found hanging on a product
OYNO=On Your Next Order
STACKING=Using multiple Qs on 1 product to reduce it's cost
FBQ=Facebook Coupon
RSP or PSA=Regular Shelf Price or Price Starting At
RA or R-A=Rite-Aid

If anyone has any questions or needs clarification on anything I wrote, I'd be happy to answer them if I can.  Either email me privately or leave a comment on this post.

I hope this long boring missive proves useful to some of y'all.



  1. Thank you so much! I will reread this a couple of times to get it all down. Of course I have questions :) So can you use a coupon that was loaded to your card and stack it with a manufacturer's coupon? How often to do those video value coupons change on their site and the load to card ones? Do they correspond to the sales? Do you use a coupon clipping service? Again thank you so much for the time you spent writing this all out. I do enjoy reading your blog...you inspire me to pull our finances together and be more organized with our money.

    1. The electronic Load2Cards are Manufacturer's coupons so technically if you use a paper coupon you can't use the L2C one for the same product.
      That being said, sometimes the L2C will come off when you also use a paper coupon OR the L2C will attach to an item and then when the cashier tries to scan a paper Q for the same item it will beep. When it comes to L2C Qs it's all a crapshoot.
      You can stack the in-ad or Facebook RA Qs with ManQs. Some stores let you triple stack a FB RA Q, an In-ad Q and/or a VVQs(2 of the above) with a ManQ but YMMV.

      The Video Values change monthly. Videos watched this month and earn you a Q will be valid for this month and the following month. You don't have to print them right away after watching but watch before the month ends. VVs have the valid dates on the top of them and are usually good for 2 months. Most will correspond to a sale at some point in that time period and usually there will also be a ManuQ released during that time to compound your savings.
      I have used clipping services in the past but that was when I was stockpiling large amounts of items(and donating quite a bit to the local food bank). Nowadays I don't use them. If I need coupons I printed them from online or buy an extra newspaper or two if the inserts have good Qs for things I use.

      When it comes to grocery shopping, as opposed to drugstore shopping, I find I don't use many coupons in that arena. Instead my price book is how I get my savings on most food items.

  2. Thanks for the explanation! Now build a Rite Aid over here!!!


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